Melatonin for Travel to Asia

There are many amazing things about traveling the world. Seeing new sights, eating tasty Asian foods.

However, one negative that backpackers and travelers experience is struggling to sleep on long-haul planes or in hostels/hotels. So some have started to take melatonin on their travels to Asia.

Is this a good or bad thing?

And does melatonin actually help you sleep better?

We’ll quickly answer these questions in this article without sending you to sleep.


Should You Take Melatonin For Traveling Asia?

An image of a toy plane traveling to asia

As mentioned in our intro, it’s become more common for people traveling long distance to take melatonin with them. Either to help them sleep on planes, or in an attempt to help them overcome jet lag after returning from Japan or Asia.

The interesting thing is that melatonin doesn’t seem to work for everyone. A quick scroll through forums such as TripAdvisor or Reddit is all it takes to prove this.

So, you have to ask yourself the question: is it worth taking melatonin for travel to asia?

There are a few factors in helping to make sure melatonin is effective. One of them being the dosage per serving…

Melatonin dosage is important

You know the age old saying – “too much of anything can make you sick, sometimes the good can be a curse”. Actually, that’s from a Cheryl Cole (or whatever her surname is nowdays) song, but you get the point.

Equally, taking too little of a supplement can lead to something not working too.

After looking at clinical studies, it seems that less melatonin seems to be better; a study undertaken by MIT researchers found a melatonin dosage of 0.3 mg to be more effective at promoting sleep than 3 mg [1].

As a result, if you’re looking for melatonin supplements to take on your travels it may be better to find one with smaller dosages per serving of around 0.3 mg.


Is Melatonin Safe to Take While on Your Travels?

An image of melatonin pills in a question mark to question the safety of them

Since clinical studies have found melatonin to be effective, the next question becomes: Is it safe?

Well, we personally tried melatonin on planes and on the road in Asia…but we stopped taking it because it was causing us too much drowsiness the morning/day after taking it. We even resorted to trying out some of Tokyo’s Nap Salons because of this, which was interesting.

Daytime Drowsiness

Just to be clear, this isn’t the absolute worst side effect you could experience from taking a supplement. And some people may believe being slightly drowsy the next morning is worth a full night of sleep.

For us, though, we felt tired and unmotivated to have full days of traveling around and making the most of our days by sightseeing and trying tons of foods.

It’s not just us either. Many people in forums have complained about this side effect after taking melatonin. A journalist for the Insider even mentions that she took it for a week but found that it caused too much daytime drowsiness so she stopped taking it [2].

Melatonin does help you sleep…but at a cost

You can see our quick summary in the above subtitle there.

While taking synthetic melatonin does undeniably help you sleep, it can leave you feeling drowsy the morning afterwards. If you don’t mind this slight side effect, then great.

However, as mentioned, for us it affected our travel plans too much so we personally wouldn’t recommend taking synthetic melatonin on your travels to Asia.


Any Melatonin Alternatives That Don’t Cause Daytime Drowsiness?

Montmorency tart cherry as the natural alternative to melatonin for travel to asia

This is a great question. And you’ll be pleased to hear that we have indeed found a natural alternative to synthetic melatonin that helps us sleep – without any daytime drowsiness.

Not only that, it’s quite easily findable online in most supplement stores.

Montmorency Tart Cherry

That’s right, Montmorency Tart Cherry is the natural alternative we’re speaking about.

It’s actually the most abundant natural source of melatonin. So it delivers melatonin in a completely non-synthetic way; perhaps this natural way of consuming melatonin instead of through synthetic chemical pills results in the no-side-effects the morning afterwards.

The clinical studies reinforce our own experience of Montmorency Tart Cherry improving our sleep while traveling too. A study published in the Natural Medicine Journal concludes that “there were significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency total” with supplementing with this natural source of melatonin [3].

The findings make sense. Since you’re consuming a natural source of melatonin instead of directly intaking synthetic melatonin, the dosage will always be smaller with Montmorency Tart Cherry. And remember that a study found smaller dosages of around 0.3 mg melatonin to be more effective than the bigger 3 mg dosages more commonly found in melatonin pills. 

If you’re interested, you can see our review of the natural sleep aid that we take ourselves called Performance Lab Sleep.


Conclusion

Hopefully you’ve gained some great information if you’re considering taking melatonin for travel to Asia.

If you’ve skimmed this quick article, then a quick summary is here; melatonin does appear to “work” in smaller dosages of around 0,3 mg but consuming synthetic melatonin pills can cause drowsiness the morning after taking it.

The morning drowsiness may be a worthwhile trade-off for those that really want a full night sleep on a long-haul flight or in a hostel/hotel in Asia. If so, then perhaps choosing a melatonin supplement that contains 0.3 mg is worth finding.

However, for us here at Let’s Visit Asia, we prefer taking a natural sleep aid containing a natural source of melatonin called Montmorency Tart Cherry instead of synthetic melatonin pills.


References:

  1. MIT News. Scientists pinpoint dosage of melatonin for insomnia. Available online: https://news.mit.edu/2001/melatonin-1017

  2. K Renae. I tried using melatonin for a week and felt exhausted, even during the day. Available online: https://www.insider.com/does-melatonin-work-for-sleep-2019-3

  3. J Schor. Cherry Juice Supplies Melatonin and Improves Sleep. May 2012 Vol. 4 Issue 5

Leave a Comment